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Walworth County Fair always best part of summer



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August 25, 2010 | 07:14 AM
The huge metal fan spins above, creating much-needed air movement in the Wiswell Center on the grounds at the Walworth County Fair. The bleachers are packed with people, many holding placards with a number and a business name on them.

Year after year, the Stinebrink family, which owns three Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, can be found sitting in the same area. On the other side of the Wiswell Center, there's Terry Daniels of Daniels' Sentry up in the top row with others from Walworth. There's yelling, pointing, smiling, kids, pigs, cows and lambs.

It's Friday afternoon during the annual fair and the Meat Animal Sale is ready to heat up. The auction is perhaps the most important day for the kids who participate in the fair and their animals. It is the day the champion and the rest of the animals are sold, raising funds for the youngster's college funds or so they can purchase more animals for future fairs. The meat animal sale often is filled with emotion. For young people who have raised these animals and loved them for months, this is the last time they will have them in the show ring. The kids usually smile while in the show ring in an effort to get the auction bids as high as possible.

But, also there are tears shed now and then as the reality hits that the animals sold will be taken to slaughter in the next few days.

When it's time for the champions to enter the show ring for auction, the real fun starts. Some of the businesses or individuals pay as much as $30 per pound for a lamb or $15 for a steer.

All the while, the auctioneers are into it trying to get the bidders to spend even more. In the end, it's for the kids, who after their animal is sold, bring a smile and a bag of goodies to hand to the person who was the winning bidder for their steer, lamb or pig.

It's an atmosphere you don't forget.

The meat animal sale is the culmination of the animal judging. I enjoy watching the children and teenagers work with their animals. They spend months prior to the fair working with their pigs, sheep, cows, small animals and birds, readying them for judging. Then, once at the fair, that work continues as they have to keep their barn areas clean and prepare their animals and themselves for the judging events.

In the judging ring, it is fun to watch how they present their animals, controlling them as they move around the ring. The kids must answer questions posed by the judges and they also must make sure to have their animals in control at all times. The showmanship judging can provide plenty of laughs. In that event, the young people are more on display than the animals. The kids have to control their animals, some of which are bigger than them. They poke and prod their animals to stand perfectly and behave during the time in the ring. Often the animals don't.

All of this is what makes the Walworth County Fair my favorite event of the summer.

But, that's not the only fun at the fair.

The Walworth County Fair has various activities I enjoy each year. There are abundant amounts of amusement rides, food and entertainment.

Of course, there are many other experiences to have at the six-day event. There is a demolition derby, harness races, musical entertainment, many items of all kinds for sale, other judging for art, photography, sewing, fruits and vegetables and anything else you can think of. I am ready to go to the Walworth County Fair right now, just thinking about everything.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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